5 Tips to help survive the first 6 weeks of Motherhood

Surviving Motherhood


Although I am a newborn photographer in Woking, and see many newborns, it’s been a while since I was a new mum.  My two are now 12 and 14, but it feels like yesterday, when I was driving home with my new baby thinking what now?  Those first few days and weeks as a new mum were daunting.  I have done NCT classes, however, we focused more on the birth during these classes, then post birth.  I wanted to have advice about feeding and the struggles I was having with breast-feeding, I wanted to know whether I was winding properly, I had so much self doubt and constantly questioned myself.  There is no manual that tells you what to do in these early days and even if there was, all newborns are different.  Of course, you get lots of advice from people and now you can search the Internet which contains loads of information, however, sometimes the advice is confusing and contradictory. So having gone through those early days with a newborn, what are my tips to surviving motherhood in the first few weeks.


2. Listen to your instincts.

No book or piece of Internet advice can give you this. You will learn to know your baby and need to trust your gut instinct.  If you think your baby needs feeding, but they only fed an hour ago and the book says wait 3, just feed them.  A big example of gut instinct was when my daughter was 7 months old.  She had a really chesty cough one evening and was very lethargic so we took her to a&e.  We were told she had a chest infection and was given some antibiotics.  Over the next 24 hours, she got worse, so we took her back to a&e and was told that she now had bronchitis.  More antibiotics were given.  About 3am in the morning, her breathing was dreadful and after 2 visits to the hospital already and having been told she just needed antibiotics, I could have just accepted this.  However, my gut instinct told me that this was not right and thought I am taking her back to the hospital even if the doctors think I’m some paranoid mother.  Anyway, we took her in the middle of the night again to find out that she had pneumonia and was immediately admitted. I trusted my instincts.  Make sure you do – you know your baby better than anyone else.

3.  Do not get caught up in trying to be the perfect mother ever.

One of the things they don’t prepare you for in motherhood is the mother’s guilt.  Even now with my children being older, I still have that mothers guilt.  You worry about whether you are a good mother.  You have self doubt about did you do the right thing.  You compare yourself too other mothers.  STOP that straight away.  There is no such this as a perfect mother.  We are all different and there is no one set perfect way! There will be good days and bad days.  Never be afraid to ask for help.  This is no sign of you being a failure.  My advice is take all the help you can, especially in the early days. Being part of an ante-natal group can help, as when you have all had your babies, you can meet up to chat through experiences, ask each other questions, and just be there for one another.  It’s also a good reason to get out of the house!

4. Make sure you have some ME – time

I know its difficult in those first few weeks, but try and make time for you. Even if that is 10 minutes a day away from you baby for just you.  Take the time everyday to have a shower, get dressed and have some decent meals. You may laugh, but there are days when you don’t even think you are going to have the time to get showered and dressed.  You will get ups and downs on your journey of being a mother, and there will be days when you think you can’t go on.  You may be sleep deprived and think you can’t possibly cope any longer with another broken night, but you will.  I promise you, this will not last forever, and before you know it your baby will be sleeping during the night and you will wonder how time has passed so quickly! Above all, if things are really getting too much, remember about there is no such thing as the perfect mother – ask for help.  Talk to someone about how your feeling.  A problem shared is a problem halved. Why not treat yourself to a spa treatment.  I love having a reflexology session or a massage.  I can highly recommend Rose, from Rejuvenation Holistic Massage Therapy.  She offers a mobile service, which is even better. Details about her and her treatments can be found here

5. The decision between nursing and formula feeding should not become bigger that WW111.

Above all, you do the best for your baby and yourself.  For some breastfeeding may not be for them.  You may not produce enough milk, or it just might not be right for you.  In no ways are you a FAILURE!  Don’t beat yourself up.  Regardless of what you do, your baby will be beautiful and wonderful. I attempted to breast feed with my first, but for medical reasons I wasn’t producing enough milk.  I had so much guilt when I started bottled feeding as I thought I wasn’t giving him the best, but I soon realised that him being content and full rather than screaming and hungry was more important.  Besides, now at 14 years old, is he any different from his friends.  Certainly not.  Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, don’t beat yourself up over it. Do what’s best for your baby and you.

I hope these tips to surviving motherhood in the early days will help.  Don’t forget, your baby will grow so quickly, so enjoy the ride at every moment.  That’s why I love my job as a newborn photographer.  Not only do I get to cuddle lots of babies, they all grow up so quickly, I love to capture such a wonderful stage of life, so parents have these photographs as memories forever.  If you would like to book or get further information about a newborn shoot, please email info@nataliemossphotography.co.uk or call 07723 605 302.

Have you heard of the travelling dress project.  I I really admire the project where 16 Photographers from around the UK all take photos with 1 dress. Joanne Lewis, a creative family photographer in  Hertford has been part of this project. Check out her story about the dress project at www.thevisualstoryteller.co.uk/the-travelling-dress-project 

and her personal story here


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